I’m taking this series to a new level: TV.

It’s mostly because I can’t bring myself to do a movie list. I just know I’d forget some key films; I’ve seen fewer TV series. Plus, in this day and age, TV is the new king. There’s just so much more space to develop your characters and your world. It’s almost more like reading.

Also, I’m changing the definition slightly. We have for many years called “Great” films ones that you would watch RIGHT NOW. I’d like to point out that there are some really great films and shows that I might not be in the mood for right now – those life-changing films that require a large emotional investment any time you sit down to watch them.

For me, Great™ shows do one of three things (probably all three):

  1. give you something to think about / challenge you in some way
  2. create a character you can relate to or have strong feelings about
  3. just make you so glad to be watching them

So, here are some of the shows I think are Great. I’m sure I’ll be updating this list as I see more series (I don’t know how I still haven’t managed to watch much Seinfeld or The Wire yet.) :)

The X FilesThe X Files

The X Files
If you like sci-fi OR crime shows OR buddy movies, please give this a try. Maybe you watched it now and then when you were young, like me. I’m telling you, it holds up. The whole series is on Netflix (and they are now in HD, if you care about that sort of thing). Plus, in 2016 you can meet up with Mulder and Scully once again.

Breaking Bad
I saw part of an episode in the middle of the series and didn’t understand the fuss. And then I started from the beginning. I contemplated the story between episodes and felt extremely invested in the characters. Warning: It’s violent and not for the faint of heart.

Mad Men
How can you love and hate someone so much simultaneously? Just such a solid show.

Louie
He’s sometimes crass, but Louis C.K. has this haunting ability to reach inside your brain and open it to new ideas. He makes you understand people better, whether you are very much like them or not at all. He’s funny and real and insightful. And the show is filmed and edited brilliantly – and Louis is in there editing it himself!

New Girl
I was so skeptical of this show. And then I watched like 12 episodes in a row. It’s funny and relatable in a new way. I particularly appreciate that while the main character, Jess, is “girly” and in some ways silly, she’s an adult. When she’s in a relationship, she’s honest and straightforward and mature (usually). Also, the characters are similar to my age and they live in our present day in a way that feels relevant to me. I don’t have a standard work situation. And I like that the characters of this show are varied in their careers as well.

Sherlock
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Need I say more?

The Office
I think the thing that’s so captivating about this show is the way they balance the characters to be flawed but lovable in their own ways.

Black Mirror
It makes your skin crawl and your brain itch.

30 Rock
It’s smart and self-aware and really, really funny.

Honorable mentions

Parks and Rec (some truly shining moments)

Friends (I love it, and I might have called it Great if I were 10 years older and had watched it as an adult in its prime)

Arrested Development (the original stuff, not the garbage that came out in 2013)

Freaks and Geeks (it had almost had the chance to become great when it got cancelled; Bill is one of my favorite characters of all time)

Twin Peaks (Season 1 is great, 2 is not great, but I look forward to the revamp!)

The Simpsons (I know the first 8 seasons, but I’m less familiar with the episodes since then, so I won’t vouch for its overall Greatness)

Halt and Catch Fire (I’ve seen one season so far, and I loved it)